| from Steve Baker |

I pray you know the differences between joy and happiness and seek joy. For you, what’s the source? Or, should I ask, who is the source? Steve Baker’s devotional is important. Read it with your children. Talk about these truths. Look to see if they’re applied throughout the week. These ideas will make a difference.

~Dr. Kathy

JOYFULNESS – the feeling of great happiness or delight evoked by wellbeing, success, or good fortune

“May you be strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy.” Colossians 1:11  

Scripture Text: Exodus 14-15

Many times God allows our faith to be tested or He puts us in situations where we must depend upon Him. Years ago, in a small central Texas town I struggled as a young pastor in getting a group of young people to embrace faith. They believed in God and many of these young people already trusted the Lord Jesus as their Savior. However, the idea of trusting Him by faith for all things was abstract.  As I prayed for God’s guidance, He led me to Psalm 18:28-29. It was as if God was saying, “if these young people will commit to trust me, I will empower them more than they have ever known before”. I gave them that challenge at the beginning of the school year at a church sponsored event. They accepted the challenge and the year was full of surprises. The football team went deeper into the playoffs than they had gone in years. The girls and boys basketball teams did even better. The school’s one act play went to regionals and their UIL team had students who went to state. The year was not without difficulties in any of these endeavors, but can you imagine the joy these young people realized in light of God’s favor.

The Israelites experienced the joy of trusting God in difficult circumstances. Freshly departed from Egypt, this band of freed slaves found themselves caught between the Red Sea and an imposing Egyptian army. They either blamed Moses for putting them in harm’s way, or they whined about their decision to leave Egypt. God gave them a message to trust Him and watch for His deliverance. Moses then raised His staff, the Red Sea parted in the middle, and the relieved Israelites scampered across to the other side. After God closed the waters upon the pursuing Egyptian army and they were defeated, joy swept across the Israelite nation. 

Moses’ sister, Miriam, led the women in a dance and song of victory. 

         ” Sing to the Lord because He is worthy of great honor. 

           He has thrown the horse and the rider into the sea.”   

What joy! Their joy was not just in being rescued or delivered. Rather, the joyfulness of the occasion was found in God’s faithfulness and presence. Truly there is no greater joy than knowing by experience that God loves you and is working for you.

Taste Test:

I cannot promise that God will work in your life as a family the same way He chose to bless one group of young people years ago in that small town. I can promise that if you seek Him with all your heart and choose to trust His guidance, He will lead you into seeing His hand of care and direction.

Why don’t you make a family prayer journal, listing the needs, battles, and/or challenges that you face? 

  • Begin praying for God’s guidance and commit to be obedient to His direction as you read His Word. 
  • Write in the journal any scripture God leads you to study and meditate upon.
  • Record God’s hand as you see it over the next few months or year.

Scraping the Plate:

Turn the story in Exodus 14-15 around as if the Israelites had not trusted God and not followed Moses. Discuss what their fate might have been and what would have been the state of their joy. Many people derive their happiness only when things are going well or they are winning. The world is full of athletes, fans, business people, and everyday folks that watch their happiness rise and fall like a yo-yo, because they don’t know how to trust God in difficult circumstances and wait upon Him. Share how waiting upon God to work things out according to His timing leads to consistency in joy. “Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.” Psalm 43:4.

Sunday Roast:

Truly there is no greater joy than knowing by experience that God loves you and is working for you simply because you belong to Him by faith.

Steve Baker and his wife, Joyce are two of my thought-leaders. They work closely together. Steve has served in ministry for almost 40 years. With his heart for discipleship, he has worked as a senior pastor, associate pastor, teacher, coach, and hospice chaplain. Steve has a passion for families, mentoring believers, and discipling parents to walk in this world humbly and boldly as warriors sharing the powerful message of the gospel to all people.

O Taste and See by Steve Baker: https://shop.celebratekids.com/books/o-taste-and-see-steve-baker/